This week at Davis station 8 January 2010

Greetings from Davis station and welcome to the first issue for 2010! It has been a very sociable two weeks on station as the crew celebrated Christmas, New Year's Eve, and finally got some time off to go and explore Antarctica. Alongside that many projects have still been continuing, with many people working through the end of year break to ensure all projects remained on track.

The AMISOR (Amery Ice Shelf Ocean Research) team finished all work at their initial drill site on the western side of the Amery Ice shelf and have now shifted to their new site near Gillock Island on the eastern side of the shelf and commenced drilling. As we speak they are hard at work and have almost completed the collection of their samples, with the first team members, Al and Kelly, ready to be extracted back to station by the end of the week.

The AMISOR Camp
The AMISOR Camp
Photo: Andrew K

On the 21st the Xue Long, the Chinese Ice Breaker, pulled into the bay with 78 of the Chinese expeditioners coming ashore to take a tour of Davis. The favour was repaid that evening with 20 Davis expeditioners visiting the ship for a tour and dinner, providing the perfect opportunity to exchange stories of life in Antarctica between two different cultures.

Davis expeditioners visit Chinese icebreaker
Nigel onboard Xue Long
Photo: Nigel Coey
Davis expeditioners visit Chinese icebreaker
Expeditioners onboard Xue Long
Photo: Nigel Coey
Chinese icebreaker, XUE Long off Davis
Frank enjoys the view
Photo: Cath K

The new LQ (living quarters) has also been full speed ahead, with two walls and a roof now making the building look almost habitable. So habitable, that the Christmas Eve BBQ was held in the LQ, with many people enjoying their first glimpse of the view from the upper floor windows of the new building. Several of Mark Pekin's trade team spent time during their days off to continue with this work, so a big pat on the back to these folks.

Construction of new living quarters, Davis
Work progresses in light winds
Photo: Cath K

Christmas Day was a fabulous day enjoyed by all, and Santa even managed to find his way to Davis to seek out those who hadn't been naughty this year (he must have had the wrong list as everybody walked away with a present!). After a delicious breakfast in the morning Santa turned up with his not-so-little helpers and everyone got a chance to sit on his knee and receive a Kris Kringle gift after everybody on station had drawn a gift recipient to provide for a week prior. Santa was last seen on his way to Dr Mad's medical quarters with a bad limp! We had a visit from the seven Russians who are staying in the Vestfold Hills, and station leader Mike ensured they all joined in on the festivities and had a bed here for the night. A sumptuous feast was put on in the afternoon and chefs Kim and Squeeze must be congratulated, as many of the crew could be heard mentioning they had never had a meal as good as that on Christmas Day, anywhere, ever!

Santa and his not-so-little helpers
Santa and his not-so-little helpers
Photo: Amy
Davis expeditioners at Christmas dinner
Kim and Squeeze with their delicious Christmas feast
Photo: Amy

On the 30th December Mike W, Andrew K, Manfred G visited Drushneya 4 to some renowned Russian hospitality. A tour of the small summer field station revealed another side of living and working in Antarctica.

Russian station, Drushneya 4
Drushneya 4
Photo: Andrew K

Most people on station had several days off around Christmas and New Year's Eve and this was an opportune time to recreate beyond the station in the huts amongst the Vestfold Hills. Several groups took time out and walked out to Watts Hut for an evening, with some members making use of Platcha and Bandits Hut.

Watts Hut, near Davis station
Wal enjoying a beverage at Watts Hut
Photo: Andrew K

New Year's Eve turned out to be a beautiful, warm (3.6 degrees) day, with the Davis Band making its debut from the Pineapple hut in the afternoon. Many station members turned out with chairs, drinks and nibbles to listen to the funky tunes under the Antarctic sun. Later that evening, Davis walked the red carpet into 2010 with a Hollywood Style extravaganza. With the theme for the evening chosen, everybody went to great lengths to turn up dressed as characters from movies and Hollywood actors. Appearances were made by Superman (Nick H), Marilyn Monroe (Bri), and Brad and Angelina (Rob and Nath) just to mention a few. With lights, disco balls and plenty of music, and the Hollywood sign providing the backdrop, the station was set for a fabulous evening with most crew members dancing the night away. The expeditioners were even treated to a special Jane Fonda 'Flash Dance' performance by Linc. Unfortunately most of us are still trying to shake this image from our memory!

New year's eve at Davis
The team dancing the night away under the Hollywood sign
Photo: Frank
Davis expeditioners at new year's celebrations
The three Amigos, Rick, Andy and Damo walk the red carpet
Photo: Frank
Davis expeditioner at new year's celebrations
Linc's rendition of Flashdance
Photo: Frank

With the sea ice adjacent to station now having broken out, the science team have started boating operations, with several members donning drysuits and plunging into the freezing waters to collect marine samples for further study in the aquarium. With the disappearing sea ice the station has also seen several elephant seals take up residence on the Davis beach. These creatures seem very content to lie in the same spot sun baking for days on end, with many of us wishing we could join them if only it were 30 degrees warmer!

Davis expeditioners at beach with inflatable boats and elephant seals
Marine science crew trying to drum up interest from the locals
Photo: Manfred G

On the 4th January, SL Mike, Linc, Cath and Dr Mad flew down to visit the Indians aboard the Russian ship Ivan Papanin which is anchored in the Larsmann Hills. This ship currently holds 29 Indian expeditioners who are busy commencing works for a new Indian station to be built in this location over the coming seasons. After seeing the long hours worked by the Indians we are all grateful to be working in such a surreal location as this with ample time to both work and enjoy the environment. The Indians get four hours off a day… to sleep.

To all our friends, family and colleagues back home we wish you all a happy new year and hope that 2010 brings with it a safe and enjoyable time!

Many thanks to the Davis met Forecasting Team for this week's edition

This page was last modified on 8 December 2009.